BRENTWOOD -- At this city's first firearms store, it is not unusual to find a woman searching for her first handgun in pink or looking at rifles with her male counterpart.
In a male-dominated industry, Brentwood Armory owners Shannon Casha and Jason Reynolds wanted to open a gun shop where customers never felt intimidated, rushed or judged, including females. They even offer firearms training and private appointments for women to learn how to safely handle firearms.
"We cater to women. They want to feel safer," said Casha, a 38-year-old Brentwood resident and former U.S. Marine who used to work full-time in the software industry.
Since opening earlier this year in a light industrial area near downtown, Brentwood Armory has accommodated a steady stream of clientele, including local law enforcement purchasing guns for their own personal needs. According to Casha, people typically acquire guns more often in a poor economy, during election times and when there is a rise in crime.
"We have had a pretty good reception in the community," he said. "We weren't sure if we would be accepted, but there are a lot of Second Amendment people out here."
Despite California's stringent gun laws, the store has been frequented by avid hunters who need shotguns throughout this Delta community and those who want to protect themselves from residential burglaries and home invasion robberies that have been occurring in East County more often these days. They even had a 70-year-old woman recently looking for a gun in the store.
"If you buy a gun from us, we want you to feel safe," said Reynolds, 37 of Brentwood, who grew up around firearms.
Calling far East County "cops land," Casha said that there are law enforcement representatives from many agencies living in this area and they visit the store often. Brentwood Police Lt. Doug Silva said that some Brentwood police officers have purchased firearms at Brentwood Armory for their personal use after being victimized in recent Brentwood burglaries.
"I haven't heard any negative feedback in the community," Silva said of the store. "It seems like people who own guns do their research. They want to be safe and they want to be responsible."
Casha noted that the greatest misconception about the gun industry is that anyone can own a gun. He added that there is an extensive background check required on all purchasers and the store reserves the right to refuse service to anybody.
The nearest places to purchase guns are in Oakley, Antioch and Tracy, according to Reynolds. Brentwood Armory strives to provide excellent customer service, respect toward its patrons, education to buyers and fair and equal treatment of its female customers.
"We have experienced judgmental people in gun shops," Casha said. "We also know that women feel intimidated in most gun shops. We saw women customers as a major untapped market."
Brentwood Armory is located at 305 Town Centre Terrace, Suite N. For more information, call 925-516-4990 or check out www.BrentwoodArmory.com.